Gifts for Language Lovers Part Two: Travel & Culture Books

Part two of our favourite gift ideas for language lovers. Give the gift of language and give your loved one the language advantage!

Travel and culture books make ideal gifts for any keen traveller. From a light-hearted look at the customs and foibles of different nationalities, to cultural insights, tips and local restaurant guides, there will be something here to engage the traveller in your midst. They’re also great for sparking ideas and putting together travel itineraries.

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Gifts for Language Lovers: Part One

Over the next few weeks we’re going to be sharing our favourite gift ideas for language lovers. Give the gift of language and give your loved one the language advantage!

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Top 6 Trends in Language Learning for 2019

We’ve seen some enormous changes in language learning over the last few years. While language learning courses, language books and language audio CDs are still popular, smartphones and high-speed internet connections have opened up a world of intuitive language learning options that have made learning a language accessible to everyone, whether you’re on your morning commute or your 15 minute coffee break at work. Apps like Google Translate have been game-changers when it comes to travel or trying to make sense of menus and information signs, and with internet connection and webcam you can now have personalised 1-1 Skype lessons with a native teacher from the comfort of your home.

We want to give you the language advantage so we’ve done our research on the top 6 trends in language learning in 2019:

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We’re back!

After an extended break, we’re delighted to announce that LanguageAdvantage.com is back! The world of language learning has changed a lot over the past few years and we’re very excited to be bringing you the latest guides to all things language, including courses, apps, books, podcasts, language holidays and more! Watch this space while we rejuvenate Language Advantage and get it ready for the future!

Sarah & Lena

Foreign Language Films Struggle for UK Success

After Polish film “Ida” won the Oscars® Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2015, there has been debate over whether the audience for foreign language films is vastly decreasing in the UK. [Read more…]

Happy Chinese New Year 2015!

night-life-new-york-chinatown

Happy Chinese New Year 2015!

2015 marks the Year of the Goat or Sheep (the direct translation from Chinese is ‘homed animal’), with 2014 being the Year of the Horse and 2016 the Year of the Monkey. The Chinese New Year is on 19 February 2015 and is China’s most important holiday which lasts for 15 days. The Lunar New Year or Spring Festival is the most prestigious occasion in the Chinese calendar, with public holidays in Taiwan, Singapore & Malaysia, in addition to China.

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Start a Love Affair with a Romance Language

Saturday 14 February 2015 is St Valentine’s Day and is a great time to start a language love affair with a Romance language in French, Italian or Spanish.

Valentine’s Day is celebrated all over the world with a variety of native traditions to explore and enjoy. However, nowadays, for most of us, it has become a massive commercial event, complete with chocolates, roses, teddy bears and quite frankly anything that is red and pink! Even, the days of anonymous love letters seem long gone …  [Read more…]

Learning a language for business

When we start a new job, we can expect to have to brush up on some of our rusty skills, or perhaps even to learn entirely new ones to make sure we’re ready to hit the ground running. But what if it’s not about learning a new computer program or brushing up on the maths we haven’t used since school, but instead learning a new language from scratch?

The fact is, in today’s global marketplace, some companies will expect you to speak more than one language. If you are going to be trading with specific markets, it makes sense that you should be able to hold a business conversation in that language. However, even if you are not working in a role where you don’t expect to be involved with other markets, there are still many reasons why you might need to have a good understanding of another language.

This article details a woman being offered a job on the condition that she learnt Welsh. Her new role was public-facing, and required her to conduct media interviews in Welsh. While she managed this challenging task with a summer language immersion course and eventually gained a GCSE in Welsh, she acknowledges that this was not an easy task. So how can you equip yourself with the right language skills for your new role?

If you are applying for roles which require new languages, do your homework before you even apply. Showing willing at the interview will stand in your favour, whether this is being able to hold a basic conversation in the language or being able to demonstrate your keenness to learn.

It is also possible to buy language CD-ROMs which are tailored to business. These are ideal if you need to learn how to speak in a professional situation, such as a business meeting or a pitch, rather than learning the usual conversational standard of language. Instead of talking about pets and hobbies, you will be able to talk about crucial aspects of business which will ensure your colleagues and clients view you in the right light.

Additionally, if you need to learn a new language for work quickly, there are many immersive language courses which take place over the world. It is relatively easy to find courses where you can tailor your classes, meaning you can select the right balance of conversational and business modules. Throwing yourself in at the deep end will allow you to conduct business conversations with locals in roleplays and real life, giving you the most realistic experience possible, along with a flavour of the business culture in that country.

To brush up on your business language, check out Language Advantage’s range of fantastic courses>>

Could drugs help us learn languages?

Recent research has found that cognition-enhancing drugs such as Ritalin and Modafinil, which are typically prescribed to treat behavioural conditions like ADHD, may be effective at improving language learning skills. As exciting as this may initially seem to those of us who have spent many a frustrating hour trying to conjugate our verbs, is it really as good as it sounds?

There are three main reasons these drugs are thought to improve language learning ability. These are:

  • Improving alertness
  • Motivation
  • Getting a ‘competitive edge’.

Medicines such as Ritalin are used to help people with ADHD and similar disorders to focus on the task at hand and stick at activities for longer. This is obviously highly desirable for those of us looking for a quick fix in our language learning. Once we’ve tried all the apps, CDs and evening classes, wouldn’t it be lovely to take a tablet to help us realise our bilingual aspirations with minimal effort? We can stay alert throughout those boring verb tables, stay motivated and keep one step ahead of the competition, all with the magic of a pill!

Other drugs, such as caffeine and nicotine, display similar effects. Some of us rely on coffee to keep us awake while we’re poring over books, while others find that nicotine calms them down and helps them concentrate on the trickier aspects of a language.

However, don’t go making an appointment with your GP just yet. As exciting as the potential for these cognition-enhancing drugs may be for language learners, many scientists admit that there is not yet enough evidence to draw any strong conclusions about these claims. Much of the research has been carried out in people with existing conditions such as Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia, and there are many more studies which need to be carried out before these drugs become a reliable source of linguistic miracles.

Furthermore, while they may help you learn the language itself, drugs are no substitute for learning the cultural context of a language. You may learn Japanese to a very high standard, but without understanding the cultural usage of the language, you could find yourself in hot water in an important business conversation or on your holiday to Tokyo.

To give yourself the best chance of success in your chosen language, we can help. We can advise you on the right programme to suit your needs, helping you get the language advantage in business and leisure.

Read more about using drugs for language learning>>

Explore our range of language learning courses>>

What’s the best method to learn a new language?

Like many people, I have promised myself time and time again that I will brush up on my foreign language of choice. However, the GCSE French textbooks I stashed away many years ago, confident I’d definitely use them again, have remained in a bag in the back of a cupboard somewhere ever since I put my pen down in my final exam. Now I’m out of education and I have a little more free time, I would like to make a proper attempt at re-learning everything I’ve forgotten. But what’s the best way to go about it?

Textbooks

Textbooks are great for giving you a consistent source of information. You will learn the correct grammatical structures and spellings, and the same terminology will be used throughout. Textbooks are also great if you want to keep revisiting the same material. However, it will be tricky to learn the accent with a textbook alone, so a textbook and CD-ROM combination might be more valuable.

Audio

Lots of language courses are delivered solely via mp3 audio files or audio CDs. These are good as they help you pick up the nuances of the pronunciation and the rhythm and intonation patterns, which can help you become a more natural, fluent speaker. However, you may receive less exposure to spellings, which you will need to learn alongside the audio course to reinforce your understanding.

Face-to-face courses

Evening classes are a fantastic way to hone your skills with other like-minded friends. You can test your skills in conversation classes and learn from experts and other amateurs and benefit from your new support network. Many language courses now take place overseas in countries with native speakers, giving you a more immersive experience and allowing you to familiarise yourself with the language with natives in their own environment for the ultimate challenge.

Apps

Apps are the biggest trend in language learning right now. Apps like Duolingo can be downloaded onto your phone or tablet, meaning you can learn languages on the move. They are designed to be used in short bursts, perhaps when you’re on the bus or waiting for a meeting to begin, meaning you can cram your learning into your busy schedule. ‘Being too busy’ is no longer an excuse, as your lessons come with you!

Get your Language Advantage with our range of language courses>>